What is mitochondrial DNA responsible for?
Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA or mDNA) is the DNA located in mitochondria, cellular organelles within eukaryotic cells that convert chemical energy from food into a form that cells can use, adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
How does mitochondrial DNA contribute to human disease?
Mitochondrial disorders may be caused by mutations (acquired or inherited), in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), or in nuclear genes that code for mitochondrial components. They may also be the result of acquired mitochondrial dysfunction due to adverse effects of drugs, infections, or other environmental causes.
What genes does mitochondrial DNA code for?
The human mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is a double-stranded, circular molecule of 16 569 bp and contains 37 genes coding for two rRNAs, 22 tRNAs and 13 polypeptides. The mtDNA-encoded polypeptides are all subunits of enzyme complexes of the oxidative phosphorylation system.
Why is mitochondrial DNA used in studies of ancestry?
A common public use for mtDNA in DNA testing is in determining ancestry. Because mtDNA does not change as rapidly as nuclear DNA, and because it is not mixed with the father’s (paternal) DNA, it leaves a clearer record of distant ancestry – although only through the mothers’ (maternal ancestry).